In 2010, shortly before my daughter was born, I received a really valuable piece of advice from a hairstylist. I was getting my haircut while talking through an internal conflict I had about not really wanting to return to my psychotherapy practice as a mom. I had spent months going over the data of what returning to my private practice would look like. On paper it was dismal. With paying for my office, insurance, childcare and transportation, along with what I imagined to be a manageable caseload with a new baby, I was looking at clearing $75 a week. I should add that at the time I was charging $150 an hour, which was at the higher end of the spectrum in 2010 and a revenue of $75 a week meant that not one of my clients canceled their session. I want to be clear that I am not saying $75 a week is nothing, but for me, in the position of being a therapist working with patients in crisis, $75 a week was not enough. Also, more importantly deep down I did not want to return. I was done and I knew it. I was just having a hard time being okay with that.
I mentioned all this to my stylist, who took a moment to step back and think while she carefully measured the front sides of my hair within her fingertips. She took the scissors to my ends and said, “Let someone else do it. Why does it have to be you?”
And this is kind of a great question, right? I drew a blank. Just sat and thought for a minute. She continued, “It’s a really hard job, right? So give someone else a shot. There’s other people who really want to fill that need. Let them do it. If you are done, why does it need to be you?” It was the first time I had ever really thought about my work from a collective perspective. Big picture, I was not leaving a void. There were people out there getting their psychotherapy license every single day. The profession certainly didn’t need me. And I decided later that day that I wouldn’t be going back.
I often reflect on this gem of advice. It’s a good question to ask ourselves every once in a while. And I have found that when I do ask it, the answer is pretty consistent. There’s always someone else experienced and enthusiastic about what you don’t want to lend energy to anymore. So, let them enjoy doing it.
This piece of advice has been front of mind recently as I ended the podcast JOY IS NOW, and continue to work on being super intentional about what I provide here in the newsletter. The newsletter needs to be a balance of meaningful offerings to you, but also allow me to be in receivership. This offering is free, there is no exchange of money for my time and in free pursuits or offerings, we need to get comfortable asking and asking specifically, when we offer something for free, what do we receive in the now? Not what do we hope to receive, but what energy are we taking in, how are we cared for in the present moment. When it comes to this offering, being in the process of writing these essays each week is a creative expression that my body needs. Even though I am putting energy out into the world without compensation, putting my contemplations and curiosity on paper also serves my creative expression. There exists a balance of sorts. It is not as direct and as clean as an exchange of money, but what I do receive from working on the newsletter is a prioritized time set aside to sit in my contemplations and then share what I distill from them with you. And prioritizing that time spent in my contemplations as a result of wanting to share them with you each week, is the value I receive in the present moment. This exchange of energetic equity or balance in what is offered freely is what we so often miss. And social media counts on us to not consider the balance or equity of receivership when it comes to free content.
In fact, free content has completely changed the way we experience receivership. And this is why I’m done with providing free shit on social media. Yes, pretty little squares explaining the different energy types of Human Design or containing business mentorship advice or inspiration would definitely benefit me with more followers. We love those pretty little disgestbale squares, reels and tiktoks. But we are careless in understanding how free advice and a DIY mentality is completely different in mind, body and being than when we are in true receivership.
When we take in free content that gives us an overview of information we seek, we often dive deeper. It’s click bait and it usually works. We check out someone’s profile, investigate their offerings. Maybe we google something they mentioned in their post because we are sure we can get it for free somewhere else. And chances are we can, and I kind of love the equity of this, but also, this is a chase. This activity, searching, churning, is being in output mode. This is spending energy instead of receiving it. Even though it seems like we are in receivership by absorbing free content, advice, ideas, inspiration. This content is rarely specific to our needs, seldom answers our questions or curiosity and ignites us to spend more energy trying to figure out how to do this or that entirely by ourselves. And this is a massive output of energy. And it is also tremendously isolating.
The example I like to share with my mentorship clients is this:
Imagine you are experiencing mild neck discomfort. You follow someone on social media who is a massage therapist. You track down a reel with simple tips on how to self massage for neck pain. You take in the information and study the reel trying to figure out how to use a technique on yourself that a trained professional has spent years refining. You sit in front of your screen, hands to your own shoulders and attempt to alleviate your discomfort. And maybe it works. In fact, I hope it works. But also, what this free offering has done, while educational and valuable, it has taken you from an opportunity of receivership and connection to one of action and output. Instead of being in complete receivership and going to get a massage, you are taking care of yourself and spending energy in output on something that should really be refilling your cup. It’s really hard to refill your cup when you can do everything yourself. My point is that when many things are offered for free, we can think we are in receivership, but actually we spend a lot more time in action and output than we even imagine. We are actually churning and chasing and striving most of the time.
Being in true receivership takes vulnerability. And patience and a lot of other feelings that maybe we do not like so much. It can be a vulnerable experience allowing ourselves to trust someone else with a need or a want that we have. What if we are disappointed? What if our expectations aren’t met? What does it say about us to allow someone else to be an expert? For someone to know more than we do about something? To need someone else to help us? Receivership requires us to loosen our tight grip. We need to open up, believe in possibility, and most importantly, enter into community. Think of how many connections we rob ourselves of when we think we can do it ourselves, find it for free, or teach ourselves to do it. In essence, by doing it ourselves we are self reliant. We do not need anyone else. And independence is a beautiful thing. But this is not independence or autonomy birthed from self-worth.This aversion we have to being in true receivership is birthed from fear. And I am done participating in it.
I’m still uncertain as to what my social media is going to look like. What I want to do is be present for Q + As. That seems right. You can ask specific questions, I can answer and in my answer allow you to be in receivership. This feels right to me. Balanced. Not encouraging the culture of churning or chasing or pushing that boulder up a hill. At least not alone.
I’ll continue to offer this newsletter, as it is a balanced offering. Energetically allowing us both to be in receivership. And I want you to be in receivership. We need to be in receivership more. True receivership. A beautiful freedom that feels like falling backwards into loving arms. Allowing ourselves to be held by another. That’s what I’m fighting for. That’s what I’m teaching. And that doesn’t come free.
So if you are interested in reels about different Human Design types, or creative business tips I am delighted to point you in the direction of any number of wonderful people on social media who are happily dishing them out for free. It won’t be me anymore. They are happy to do it, and I am happy to let them.
We mixed it up a little and this week I posted a poll in my IG stories. Basic info about How HD was a clear front runner. It's super fun for me to think about. I'm happy to share my thoughts below.
Let's dive in!
When I think about the most valuable essence of what Human Design shares, it is most definitely boundaries. Through understanding how we best use our energy, make decisions, and connect with others, we are essentially being guided by boundaries. And this is so needed! And kind of sneaky. When I began my work with Human Design a few years ago, I was surprised to find that after all the therapy I had been in myself, all of the guidance I offered specifically around boundaries to others, that in reality, my boundaries were kind of shit. I was really surprised and also totally embarrassed! How after all this work and study had I managed to still struggle with this?
Well, for one, boundaries are hard. And we are usually pretty bad at creating them and maintaining them, especially when they are boundaries that need to exist within ourselves instead of with an other. Being fully grounded in what we truly want and what is beyond what we want to give doesn't come naturally. Not in a capitalist economy and not in a patriarchy. We are encouraged to go go go at our own expense. We are taught that just by existing, the world is invited to comment, connect, all with the expectation that we will receive, give and caretake. So yeah, getting clear on our wants and desires can be a bit challenging.
Human Design offers a really beautiful place to start. Even if none of it resonates, having a starting point should not be underestimated. Sometimes the most valuable thing we can know is that something doesn't resonate. That can be a really important the first step and Human Design helps us at minimum get there.
Email your questions LISAANDERSONSHAFFER@GMAIL.COM.
Happy to shed more light!
I'll admit to being in a bit of a U2 obsession these last weeks. Bono's new memoir, Surrender was released and he's been everywhere. Late night, tv podcasts, morning shows. And I kind of love it. He's a favorite and I've been a U2 fan for long enough to be considered cool, cringe and then cool again depending upon the decade. It is impossible to isolate a single U2 song that speaks to me more than others. There are many that cuts right through into my bones, vibrating my whole body. It's a BIG experience. I have been thinking about surrender lately, and it seems to somehow fit with the essay I shared with you above. The idea of receivership, freedom, falling into another. Allowing ourselves to open. Learning to trust. It's all so hard. And also, entirely possible. BAD is a song that speaks to the gifts of surrender. The difficult path to be in it, and the freedom possible when and if we can allow ourselves to experience it. Below is a few bits and pieces for the lyrics that resonate with me. If you know the song, I invite you to listen again. If you don't, be present with the experience of hearing the song for the first time, even if you hate it. There is only one chance at a first. Isn't that beautiful? Hit the LISTEN here.
If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would
Let it go
If I could throw this lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you walk, walk away
Into the night
And through the rain
Into the half-light
And through the flame
If I could through myself
Set your spirit free, I'd lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
To let it go
And so to fade away
To let it go
And so, fade away
I'm wide awake
I'm not sleeping
Oh, no, no, no